As GaN power device technology matures and gains acceptance in the market place, suppliers who provide products using this promising technology must prove its reliability. This paper will provide an overview of the testing approaches used to establish failure rates and will provide a comparison of DC and RF based HTOL methods. The primary focus of this paper will be the high power RF HTOL test method used by M/A-COM Technology Solutions to qualify its new MAGX line of discrete GaN on SiC RF Power Transistors. An overview of the results and a comparison of the reliability of GaN with respect to older silicon based power semiconductor technologies will be discussed.
It is clear that Gallium Nitride on Silicon Carbide based semiconductor devices for RF power amplification are rapidly gaining acceptance in the RF and Microwave industry. The promise of the technology to provide high power density and high efficiency, as well as operate over large percentage bandwidths while supporting higher channel temperatures as compared to previous semiconductor technologies, is finally coming to fruition. All technologies proceed through a uniform progression; introduction, mainstream acceptance and adoption and ultimately onto technology obsolescence. However, before any new technology can be fully accepted and adopted its reliability must be proven. Further, the current market environment that demands short design cycles also demands reliability. The world class semiconductor manufacturers of today understand this and thus routinely subject their new products to extensive reliability and quality screening.